Revision of rice importation rules to curb smuggling sought



by Orti Despuez

Aug. 2, 2012



MANILA - The Rice Watch and Action Network (R1) on Thursday has called for the revision of the rice importation guidelines in the country, saying that the National Food Authority (NFA) should be the only entity to govern the entry of the commodity into the country.

In a statement, the non-governmental group said a deeper investigation of rice smuggling is called for and that the government must review its policy on the rice importation by the private sector.

R1 said the Aquino administration must assign the NFA as the lone institution that would deal with rice traders and importers so that the entry of the grains into the country could be closely monitored.
“We support whatever investigation the Senate is doing to curb the age-old problem of rice smuggling,” said Aurora Regalado, R1 Convenor.

“More importantly, we hope that the Bureau of Customs intensified operation will result to the capture the so-called Big Fish in this modus and help the government pinpoint the root of the problem of this illegal rice trade,” Regalado added.

R1 cited United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics data that showed there are about 1.3 million bags of rice that are possibly smuggled into the country, based on the exports from Thailand and those that are reportedly shipped into the Philippine ports in 2010.

The difference in exports and volume of rice received in the ports from Thailand and Vietnam was even higher in 2009 at 2.32 million bags of rice.

Regalado said that unless smuggling is solved, the goal of achieving rice self-sufficiency would be futile since the market would still be flooded by the smuggled or imported commodity that competes with the produce of local farmers.

R1 also said the government must to stand its ground against the pressure from other countries to stop our bid for quantitative restriction in rice in the World Trade Organization (WTO).





Next R1 News | Back to R1 in the News Page



Rice Watch and Action Network

© 2007 All Rights Reserved